Ekpe's Book Club gets a shoutout from former First Lady Michelle Obama

by Aaron Falk

Ekpe Udoh looked at his phone in his disbelief.

The Utah Jazz center on Sunday asked his followers on Twitter for some help choosing the next title for his popular book club to read: “The Autobiography of Malcom X”, “The Sun Does Shine”, or “Becoming” by Michelle Obama.

After he sent the tweet, Udoh sat at his desk watching a documentary about President Barack Obama and the federal prison system. When he looked at his phone next, he saw the former First Lady’s name but didn’t think much of it.

“Who would think Michelle Obama would tweet at me out of the blue?” Udoh said.

Then he looked at his phone again.

“I started sweating,” he said. “It was a great feeling.”

Udoh has run his book club for fans for more than half a decade now. On Sunday, the Jazz center had one of his biggest thrills, seeing that his efforts had attracted the attention of the former First Lady.

“Do I get a vote?” Michelle Obama tweeted to Udoh’s request for help choosing his next book. She also used Udoh’s hashtag “#EkpesBookClub”.

That helped Udoh make his decision.

“Of course, no voter suppression here! We will read Becoming next,” he replied. “At #Ekpesbookclub we encourage the thoughts of individuals from all walks of life. It would be an honor if you could stop by for a discussion or join our twitter discussion.”

Udoh has brought authors in for live discussions with his book club members this season. Most recently, Jazz owner Gail Miller joined Udoh for his “Author’s Talks” series.

Could Michelle Obama be a future guest?

“You know, who knows?” Udoh said. “If she pops up that would be amazing. We’ll see if we can get her involved with the discussions of her book [on Twitter] in a few weeks.”

For Udoh, the moment of recognition was special.

“Somebody’s always watching,” he said. “You have to be a good citizen.”